Los Alamos lyrics (tightening the screws)

Made a few revisions to the original (and Spintunes submitted) lyrics to add clarity and correct a rather awkward third verse. In a crazy hypothetical land this will be the “album version”.

LOS ALAMOS
—————
the sun it rises in the east
i never thought I’d hear a prophecy in that
when i settled down, in this desert town
the future rang no doorbells

but to provide a frame of reference
nobody here really takes note of my face
it’s like a backstage pass, this name badge
the junior lab assistant has the run of the place

yet sometimes i feel like a ghost
in the shadow of a sleeping god

i feel a little sicker everyday
but i really need this job
everyone here is so smart and really quiet
but i guess for scientists, that’s not odd

the proper care and handling of the team
might not be the task I signed on for
one of them just said he has become death
i wonder what they’ll do for an encore

to turn so many people to shadows
and dust clouds that flow like a flood
i guess when you wake a sleeping giant
it’s no surprise that it looks for a club

should i suspect i aid and abet
the greatest crime in human history
i don’t really wanna know, because tell me
who doesn’t love a good mystery?
who doesn’t love a little mystery?

and i wash my hands
as i piece things together
can’t even say how careful i need to be
i wash my hands
you can’t take a chance
when this world can be so dirtying

i feel a little sicker everyday
but i really need this job
everyone here is so smart and really quiet
but i guess for scientists that’s not odd
should i begin to suspect i aid and abet
the biggest crime in human history
i don’t really wanna know, because tell me
who doesn’t love a good mystery?
who doesn’t love a little mystery?
i can stand to leave a little mystery.

i wash my hands
and wash my hands
i wash them while i look the other way

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5 comments so far

  1. Overclicked on

    It’s your wonderful perspective at work again 🙂 Playing the harsh critic, something in the meter and rhyme in the first stanza feels off to me, but it picks up quickly after that. Also, I think “so quiet” instead of “really quiet” may be more melodic for the chorus.

  2. JoAnn on

    The term is “aid and abet”, not “abed”. :o)
    I like the implied radiation sickness in the chorus as well as its secondary meaning of trying to wash away the stain of what is going to happen. Of course, history nut I am…I know that no one knew WHAT exactly would happen when they dropped those 2 bombs- including the scientists. Definately not a janitor, who would have been proud of American techno in helping to end the war. I have never liked the idea that they were willing to risk the possibility of igniting the atmophere in the whole world either-way too much hubris for me. On the very plus side- it DID end the war, and WE were the ones who had the power, not the Nazi’s or the Soviets. It probably saved over a million US soldiers who would have died in an invasion of mainland Japan, and 5-10 million Japanese too.
    Maybe if this were to be written in the past tense- he is still washing his hands, knowing now what it was he was a part of, wanting to get rid of any associated guilt? Especially if back then he WAS proud to be a part of it all, even in a tiny sense, and he has regrets now? It would be more believeable to me that way, since I know he couldn’t have known (cause no one knew really) what was going to happen at the time.

  3. theedgeofcynicism on

    Thanks Jo, I actually meant to look up abed/abet before I posted. LOL

    The song is more (probably contrary to the challenge, but I’m just a rebel like that) a general tale about looking the other way when you know enough to suspect somebody wrong. It’s a janitor right now because I need someone “unknown”. Might just go with a lab assistant but I like the line about “cleaning up after these guys”.

    And I did Do The Research for the most part — I know nobody was really sure what was going to happen and I know for damned sure that security was probably tight enough that a janitor wouldn’t. In fact I doubt there were janitors at Los Alamos. LOL. Historical fiction, indeed.

    No real sociopolitical commentary specific to Hiroshima/Nagasaki is intended here. I don’t think I have the wisdom/hindsight/whatever to say it shouldn’t have been done. I feel pretty secure saying I wish it hadn’t been “necessary”. (And I use quotes there to acknowledge that plenty of people could probably argue semi-convincingly that it wasn’t)

  4. theedgeofcynicism on

    Andy – Yeah, that first verse is tricky. I’ll have to see how it sounds with the music. Being a little unsettling is intentional (after all it’s a little unsettling song) but being awkward is not intentional. Haha.

    And you’re right about the chorus… my choruses tend to change a lot between when I write the lyrics and when I record them to make sure the “flow” is good.

  5. JoAnn on

    I REALLY like the lab assistant idea- a typical grad student slave who has a clue and overhears stuff and can put pi and pi together and work out “BIG boom” from it.
    My song is all past tense- and I better get to it and write the blessed words down already! Ack!


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